BY SILVI WRITER
Another three prototypes for China’s first homegrown large passenger jet, the C919, will conduct their maiden flights this year, following the success of a third one on Dec 28, according to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC), the maker of the jet.
The 104 prototype test aircraft of the China-made C919 has entered its final assembly stage, the 105 is undergoing the assembly of major components, and the main components of the 106 are in production.
The maiden test flights for all three new prototype jets are expected to take place before the end of 2019. The addition of these three would bring the total number of C919 prototype test aircraft to six.
To date, domestic and overseas buyers have placed orders for 815 of the China-made C919 aircraft, according to COMAC.
The first and second C919s made their maiden flights in May and Dec last year, respectively.
With a range of 4,075 kilometers, the C919 jet is comparable to the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing’s new generation 737.
Also, China-developed MA700, a new model of high-speed turboprop regional aircraft, is expected to conduct its maiden flight in 2019, according to its developer.
That means the “Morden Ark(MA)” regional airplane family will embrace its third member following the MA60 and MA600, said the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The MA700 was developed by the AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft (AVIC XACC) in Xi’an, in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.
It is designed with high speed, economic efficiency and adaptability to various airport conditions and air routes.
The model is part of China’s plan to develop two trunk jetliners and two regional aircraft, with the other models being the C919 narrow-body and CR929 wide-body passenger aircraft, as well as the ARJ21 regional jetliner.
The MA700 is expected to receive the type certificate (TC) from civil aviation authorities by 2021, according to AVIC.
To date, the MA700 has received 185 intended orders from 11 customers at home and abroad.